Information systems and digitization
In 2019, the Department of Digitization and Information Systems (ODIS) was established, which was given the task of conceiving the area of IT and digitization in the National Museum in a different, modern way. In the first phase, a new concept of IT development was developed and approved by the museum management, the individual phases of which were divided into the following five areas.
The ongoing rapid development of the network infrastructure is a response to the debt we have taken over in this area from previous years. Now we focus on completing the network infrastructure, its security, segmentation. The key word for change is information security, because in this respect, our infrastructure has a lot to improve.
Fast network connection of the National Museum buildings
An agreement was signed to connect our institution to the CESNET e-infrastructure, which provides a fast optical connection and connectivity to the Internet. The goal is to connect our largest buildings - Počernice, the Czech Museum of Music, the Náprstek Museum and Terezín - on a high-quality fast optical circuit platform. CESNET also provides us with services such as data storage for digitization, continuous security monitoring and connection to other scientific institutions.
Server virtualization, disk arrays
In 2019, the National Museum strengthened computing power on a new server virtualization platform (HP ProLiant DL380). We continued to replace physical servers with virtual machines, at the end of 2019 we already had more than 50. At the same time, the museum purchased a 3PAR disk array with SSD technology for fast storage of data needed for the operation of key applications (economic information system, file service, personnel information system ...). Thanks to this solution, data is centralized, backed up and at the same time sufficient space is provided for the future need for their storage. After the reconstruction in the Historical Building of the National Museum was completed, in 2019 we began moving redundant servers to other buildings to ensure the functioning of the organization in the event of a sudden disaster. The servers providing employee authentication services in our domain (domain controllers) have undergone a major change. As part of streamlining operations, we have upgraded and reduced these servers from eight physical servers to one virtual and one backup physical server in another building.
New network architecture
Within 2019, an extensive implementation of the newly installed HPE/Aruba network infrastructure took place in the Historical and New Buildings. In both buildings, it was the implementation and configuration of an extensive infrastructure of switches and Wi-Fi network with regard to security, segmentation, high availability and spread of multimedia traffic. A central node of the entire network (2 x HP Aruba 5700) was built in the main server room of the New Building of the National Museum, which serves as an aggregation element of the infrastructure. IMC management software has been implemented for the entire data network, which serves as a tool for network management and configuration, including backup and monitoring.
In this segment, we need to achieve maximum reliability and ensure zero outages. At the same time, we want to use the tools of advanced terminal management, virtualization and support of our own devices (BYOD) and thus increase the satisfaction of our users. Email as one of the key services is the first we focused on, and which falls under a comprehensive cloud solution. Not only large companies, but also cultural institutions have, after mature consideration, chosen to move from on-premise services to a cloud environment that offers both the necessary scalability and a high level of security.
Cloud and email services
We want to systematically move the basic services that are key to the operation of the museum, but not specific to it, to the cloud and thus lighten the internal infrastructure and internal IT support. Due to the security status of postal services in terms of application and hardware, we decided to move e-mail services to the cloud. Along with this, we will integrate other services such as intranet, access to shared documents, connection to Active Directory, ensuring end-point security, etc. After a thorough internal analysis, Microsoft O365 cloud services seem a convenient solution for the organization.
It was necessary to revise the existing method of backup and move to a new strategy. The prerequisite for including a specific data set in the backup plan was a revision of their status, removal of duplicate, outdated and irrelevant files. We decided to implement a multi-tier backup strategy: from a local backup to the replication of selected restore points to a remote CESNET repository. We also expanded the space in the CESNET repository and, in cooperation with this association, we set up a virtual machine for backup replication.
Desktops and laptops
As part of the transition to the Windows 10 operating system, it is necessary to perform a major renewal of employee desktops and laptops. That is why we have prepared a public tender for the supply of a larger number of PCs for our employees, which we will distribute in 2020.
As part of the administration of these PCs, we deployed endpoint management software Desktop Central and modernized the method of remote management of user stations with an emphasis on security. This primarily means remote installation and management of software (antivirus, security, updates), replication of user directory data.
We are preparing a tender for the supply of a printing service system with an advanced way of recording and managing print jobs (for example, SafeQ, MyQ). The aim is to unify the management of print jobs and offer users a modern solution with several HW variants of printers. We also want to enable access to printers from external laptops (BYOD), from which it will be possible to print via the web interface after logging in, and further to make the printers available to library visitors who will be provided with print services linked to their user accounts.
The National Museum has over 20 million items in its collections, only a few percent of which are in electronic registration systems, which can potentially be searched. So far, the digitization process is somewhat inconsistent and digital objects are not used in a modern way. That is why we have set up a working digitization group, which prepares documentation for the deployment of an institutional repository and the introduction of uniform work with metadata. Information on the rest of the items can be found mainly in the analogue records. Those few percent of items are registered in more than 14 systems, which are further divided into different versions. In general, the systems can be divided according to the law into systems for archival, library and museum objects.
The Department of Collection Systems (ODIS 2) was established in order to map the current state of registration systems, unify records and in the long term merge systems into only one, which would be applicable to all collection items. The department has already mapped the status of records and used collection systems in 30 departments, prepared documentation for a new registration system, deployed the molecular system EarthCape in test mode and is currently arranging migration from the oldest local systems to new web versions. We systematically aim to deploy a suitable collection system that would help reduce the diversity of current collection solutions in the National Museum.
Services for visitors
In the summer of 2019, a tender for the operation of the cash register system and ticket system took place, and was won by Perfect Systém s.r.o. and its Colosseum system. We have programmed an integration system that will reliably deliver information from Colosseum to both COmInfo and Aproks turnstiles. Then we focused on implementing orders for schools, better turnstile settings and debugging the reading of mobile QR codes.
New Wi-Fi for visitors
A very fast wireless Wi-Fi network for visitors was built in the Historical Building of the National Museum, secured by an access web portal (Maxifi Captive portal) and other security systems.
Audiovisual elements in exhibitions – digital signage
The Crestron control system was put into operation in the Historical Building, which enables the transmission of video and audio from the server room to display devices via the network infrastructure, and sending of input from the visitor’s interaction with the touch screen in the other direction. We will deploy approximately 300 audiovisual devices, so we are setting up a way to sustainably operate this equipment over the already launched Creston and Stino system platform at an affordable cost.
Multimedia connecting corridor
One of the great technical successes was the launch of a connecting corridor between the Historical and New Buildings, which represents a unique multimedia installation even in a global context. The new multimedia exhibition “Moments of History” will first take the visitor to Wenceslas Square 200 years back in time, so that the visitor can then return to the present in image, sound and light. The total length of the projection space is 112 m and consists of two 56 meters long parallel panoramas, the displayed area is almost 270 m2. The image is realized by 38 projectors, which are specially designed for a close-up view. The exhibition is sounded by a 32-channel surround sound system and the atmosphere is enhanced by a 324 m long light installation. The total resolution is 60,000x1,200 pixels, which are played into the projectors by a decentralized system of 19 connected two-output synchronized computers, which create an incredible data flow of 330 Gb/s. The sound has a 32.8 system with a total power input of 12 kW, which can excite acoustic pressure over 130 dB.
Application for visitors
Web presentation of the National Museum
In 2019, over 30 minor website modifications took place, mainly as part of user interface optimization. The biggest modification of the website was a completely new system for booking school programs, which in the administration added to the Department of Education the ability to better specify the program and added a registration form for schools on the website for a specific date, which can automatically book the space for a given hour in which the program takes place, in order to avoid a conflict. At the same time, the possibility of searching for individual employees of the National Museum was added.
The aim of the ongoing project is to create a modern museum application that will combine all basic visitor services as is now standard. The basic functions will include a modern guide with navigation (using Bluetooth beacons), navigation by route, standard audio-guide mode, the possibility to purchase a ticket and information about events.